I’m running a new series of guest posts throughout 2015: Fetish Friday. Don’t get all sweaty in the pants—I’m going back to an older definition of the word, and asking artists to show us something that helps them with the ritual of creation, some part of their surroundings—physical or mental—that eases the path into the creative state, whether it be a location, a piece of music, person, picture, a doohickey, whatnot, curio or ornament without which the creative process would be a whole lot more difficult.
Today we welcome author, editor and publisher AJ Spedding:
This has taken a little longer to get to Lee than I initially thought – life and work tend to conspire. I also wasn’t quite sure what to write when it came to rituals or routines to get the creative juices flowing (easy). But it all begins with my desk. It’s my little corner of creative heaven in my house (although my husband calls it ‘hell’s corner’, bless), and I’m sure some would say my stuff is a little macabre, but each has special meaning and represents something to do with my writing and the people who support me in that endeavour.
It’s also where, once I sit, I’m surrounded by all that I need to both work (as an editor) and write. I have a pretty strict routine when it comes to the division of editing versus my own writing – I work a standard eight-hour day for editing client work, then once the kids are off doing their own thing after dinner, I sit down to write.
If I had to narrow it down to one specific thing (and that’s damn difficult), it would have to be a good cup of coffee – if I could organise it, I’d drip feed it, but apparently that’s illegal – but without it… no coffee makes AJ something something bitchy something bitch, bitch.
There are also the staples any writer/editor needs – a slew of reference books; pens, pens and more pens; a pile of notebooks, and a whiteboard to keep me on track. But it’s my little pieces of horror that keep me focussed on my writing.
There are times when I’m working on another’s piece that the desire to write seems almost overwhelming, but work always takes precedence. Still, all I have to do is look up at my mini Cerberus or my quill and ink and be reminded that working from home not only gives me the freedom to hang with my kids more than an ‘outside’ job would, but that my work also supports my passion to write.
That doesn’t mean the writing comes easy. Sometimes it’s difficult to turn off ‘work’ mode, and other times it’s bouts of writer-imposteritis that hits hard. That’s when particular items of my collection do their job – and these are the ones most associated with my writing, and my most treasured. My Australian Shadows Award trophy – Zombie Hyde, who looks down rather sternly at me and makes me want to be a better writer; the artwork (by the brilliant Andrew J McKiernan) that accompanied one of my stories, Nightmare’s Cradle, in ASIM; and a crow skull gifted me from Geoff Brown when I finished the first draft of my novel. These three pieces let me know that I can do this writing gig, regardless of the little voice in my head that tells me I’m shit.
Artwork also plays a major part in reminding where my passion lies – evocative images that always draw me back to ideas and plots. When I walk in the door I have two pieces from Obsolete World (where the make-believe creatures of our childhood are captured once we discard them); and dark pieces from comic artist Montgomery Borror, Aussie artist Greg Chapman, and the stuff of nightmares from Damon Hellandbrand. So no matter where I am in my house, there’s always something that keeps me grounded in my writing.
Amanda J Spedding is a professional editor, proofreader and award-winning author whose stories have been published in local and international markets earning honourable mentions and recommended reads. She won the 2011 Australian Shadows Award (short fiction) for her steampunk-horror, ‘Shovel-Man Joe’.
Amanda is the owner of Phoenix Editing and Proofreading, and also works with Cohesion Press as co-editor of their SNAFU series. Between bouts of editing, she is writing (and rewriting) her first novel. Her horror comic ‘The Road’ will be launched at Oz ComicCon in Melbourne – this doesn’t terrify her at all (and if she keeps telling herself this, it will become truth). She lives in Sydney with her sarcastically- gifted husband and two very cool kids.
Are you a creative artist? Fancy joining in and letting us know about that special item, object, location or cosmic state of being at the heart of your creative process? There’s always room for another lunatic in the asylum: email me and make your most excited Horshack noise.